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Bloom and Grow Radio

Dec 29, 2020

What a year it’s been. I’m thankful 2020 is coming to a close and excited for 2021, I think a silver lining 2020 has given us is truly understanding the power of plants and how they can help us relieve stress and cultivate more joy in our lives. My goal for Bloom and Grow is to help everyone successfully care for plants for that exact reason, to make the world a kinder and greener place. Now… there is also a dark side to this hobby of plant care. There is a moment in all of our lives where our hobby teeters the thin line between joyful and stressful. Where we fall so deeply in love with plants, maybe we bring too many home at once, or go through a season of life where we can’t care for our collection and then feel disappointed in ourselves. I initially thought my struggles with plant parent overwhelm have been unique, an outlier in our community, but after hearing from you in the listener survey, or in dms and emails, I know this moment of Plant Parent Overwhelm is something we all struggle with.


On this episode of BAGR, we revisit highlights of Episode 43: Your Brain On Plants, in which I interviewed Dr Caitlin Vander Weele, a neuroscientist about what chemically happens in our brain when we get addicted for plants. The conversation was eye opening, and on this topic, feel like the things Caitlin shares shed so much light on a problem so many plant parents struggle with at one point through out their plant parenthood.

After snippets of that episode with Caitlin, I then share experiences, strategies and suggestions on how to deal with Plant Parent Overwhelm and how to go on a plant pause. 


In this episode we learn:

  • [03:09] Why Maria wanted to tackle plant parent overwhelm in this special episode
  • [07:17] How this AMAZING liquid fertilizer lessened my stress about plant care
  • [08:56] Maria narrates her personal experience with plant pause and Billy’s intervention when she peaked her plant obsession
  • [10:11] What is dopamine? How does taking care of plants, or successfully growing an herb garden in Maria’s case, release dopamine and fuel our plant craze?
  • [13:16] Dr Caitlin explains how the dopamine in our brains can cause compulsive behaviors a.k.a. buy more plants than we intend
  • [14:41] What is a neurotransmitter? Dr Caitlin describes the molecules, synapses, and receptors in layman’s terms, for better understanding of that new plant high!
  • [17:16] How are plants different from our other ‘material obsessions’? What is oxytocin and why does taking care of plants (and babies) release this hormone?
  • [19:12] The four major stages of compulsive buying behavior: anticipation, preparation, shopping, and regret
  • [21:31] Dr Caitlin explains different research and hypotheses exploring why plants are good for our mental health
  • [23:36] Why being in nature unlocks our creativity and brings us a more positive emotional state
  • [24:09] Maria shares how checking her plants regularly in the morning makes her feel settled and less stressed
  • [25:13] How does plant care affect our brain and how we process our thoughts?
  • [26:33] What are some of the things you can look out for to avoid an unhealthy relationship with plants? Maria gives her personal experiences when she went through an unhealthy obsession with plants
  • [28:27] How to Manage Plant Parent Overwhelm Tip #1: Understand your plant number
  • [30:00] How to Manage Plant Parent Overwhelm Tip #2: Accept that you’re overwhelmed and forgive yourself!
  • [30:42] How to Manage Plant Parent Overwhelm Tip #3: Assess where you are
  • [31:16] How to Manage Plant Parent Overwhelm Tip #4: Set a budget and STICK. TO. IT.
  • [31:47] How to Manage Plant Parent Overwhelm Tip #5: Find your focus
  • [32:16] How to Manage Plant Parent Overwhelm Tip #6: Work with what you got! 
  • [33:38] Maria shares her plant pause experience, her realizations during her plant pause, and how it benefited her plants and her home
  • [35:33] Plant Pause Tip #1: Define your rules — YOU know what YOU can do
  • [36:51] Plant Pause Tip #2: Involve your community (and get closer with them)
  • [38:16] Plant Pause Tip #3: Set a timeframe
  • [38:50] Plant Pause Tip #4: Be kind to yourself
  • [39:25] Plant Pause Tip #5: Remember it’s quality over quantity
  • [40:15] If you decide to take a plant pause, don’t worry! Maria shares some fun things you can do while on your plant pause
  • [40:27] Streamline your design and collection, learn your plants’ Latin names, propagate, fertilize, and learn learn learn while doing your plant pause
  • [41:24] Plant parenthood can be seasonal and you can have times when you aren’t being the best plant parent to your plants, and that’s okay!
  • [42:11] Maria shares her musings about the year that’s passed and about the new year to come
  • [43:38] Maria’s exciting news! What’s in store for Bloom and Grow Radio in 2021

Mentioned in this episode:

Check out the companion youtube video about plant parent overwhelm 

Blog where all tips and tricks discussed in this episode live

BAGR Episode Root-Ology with Leslie Halleck

BAGR Episode Your Brain on Plants

Thank you to our episode sponsor:

Espoma Organics: for responsibly made, fabulous indoor and outdoor organic soils, fertilizers, pest control sprays and more visit to find your local dealer or check out my amazon storefront of my favorite Espoma products here.


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